Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We-Design-Day: Practical Theory Week #2

This week, we're going to look at two more design principles: proportions and scale. Both principles express concepts of size and magnitude and both serve an important function in design.


    a.In a design setting, it can refers to the visual proportion - relating to the use of colours, patterns and textures. Too much of any one thing can dominate a space and overwhelm it negatively.

    b.It also refers to the classical architecture terminology - defining the relationship of the parts to the other parts or to the relationship of the parts to the whole. For interior design, it can be applied to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design.

It is often easier to cite examples of badly thought out proportion. If you think architecturally, we often see huge "McMansions" placed on tiny city lots. Additionally, have you ever driven through an older area of your city and noticed small post-war style homes "re-invented" with additions or second storeys that clearly don't work with the existing structure. Furthermore, over sized furnishings in a small room do nothing but create clutter and a sense of 'small'. When selecting furniture, one must clearly understand that although the piece is really comfortable and 'just the right size' for a person (thinking of overstuffed furniture or California King sized beds) proportionately, a Cali King bed in a 10'x12' room will dominate and overwhelm the space.

Interior, usually most people aren't attracted to using all of one colour or pattern but proportion should be applied and carefully thought out so no one things (be it colour, texture, or object) overwhelms the space.


    a.Scale works hand in hand with proportion. In design (architecture or interior) scale specifically compares the size of an object or an environment to a human being. Anything used or applied in an interior should be compared to a person to ensure it's scale isn't overwhelming or dominating. Scale should suit the occupants, as well as the space.

Special consideration can be given when designing children's rooms or seniors centres to ensure that the furnishings and rooms are scaled to their special need & size!

We're on the home stretch of the principles now! Next week, we'll finish them up and then move forward and get back into working with our projects.

Further reading:

Architectural Proportion (Wikipedia)
Photo Flash Graphics

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